News and Events

In-Person and Remote Advising Available

The Department of Linguistics will be operating remotely this summer, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For in-person advising or department tours, please contact Sara Helms, sara.helms@wwu.edu.

Please see our Faculty and Staff page for office hours and contact information.

Summer 2024 Linguistics Courses

A sunny picture of the fountain in Red Square at Western Washington University.
Registration Opens May 7

Do you have an interest in language or linguistics? Do you still need your SSC or SCI GUR? 

We are offering 2 introductory linguistics courses this summer.

WWU LING Student Presents Research At LSA Conference

Ilsa O'Rollins (left) stands with other students she met at the LSA Institute in Boston, MA, summer of 2023.

WWU LING major Ilsa O’Rollins has kept busy between her involvement with the LSA and Western’s Linguistics Department. Read the full story here.

Dr. Kristin Denham

Dr. Kristin Denham

Professor of Linguistics Dr. Kristin Denham has been inducted into the 2024 class of Fellows of the Linguistics Society of America.

Linguistic Sleuth

The book "The Ket Language", by Andreas Dulson.

Read about the fascinating research of WWU's Dr. Edward Vajda

Story by John Thompson

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Linguistics

In our courses here at Western, we are interested in the ways in which the study of language can provide the tools, the analytical skills, and the historical and cultural context to better understand the ways in which language is used to separate, segregate, and discriminate.  

Read our Racial Justice Statement

It’s important to us that our department is not only a welcoming place for everyone, intolerant of discrimination, but that we are actively working to dismantle power structures that serve to discriminate against underrepresented populations.

Welcome Prospective and Incoming Students

It’s the best possible combination of fields – math, cognitive science, formal logic, anthropology, etc. It’s impossible to get bored and there’s always something to learn.

WWU faculty and students at the 2020 LSA Conference

Western's Department of Linguistics can lead students not only to find interesting and engaging careers and jobs but also to give back to their communities in important ways. Our alumni are teaching, creating, writing, analyzing, and serving in a vast array of careers and civic engagement.

We now have a cohort of about 170 students, and an eager and active Associated Students Linguistics Club. Faculty from several departments contribute to our department, including from Modern and Classical Languages, Anthropology, and Computer Science.

Student Spotlight

We want to hear from you. If you have news to share, email us at linguistics@wwu.edu or call us at 360-650-3914.

Royce Gibson

Royce Gibson is a consummate scholar. Faculty comment that he is “academically brilliant,” “a fantastic researcher,” “kind,” and “modest” He is extremely enthusiastic, and always challenges himself. Royce participates above and beyond; he is very eager to learn and takes course assignments and projects to the next step. In addition to being a “true scholar”, a term several faculty used to describe Royce, he is also an intuitive teacher. Many faculty note that Royce contributes to a collaborative learning environment. “He makes great observations and shares them with the class,” several note, but in an unassuming and very helpful way. He is a simply superb student with a depth and breadth of knowledge and a sincere desire to keep learning.

Royce Gibson
2022-2023 Department of Linguistics Outstanding Graduating Senior

Fulbright U.S. Award Recipients

Congratulations to WWU Linguistics Alums Nathan Bucker (Germany) and Molly DeLeo (Germany)

2022-2023 Department of Linguistics Exceptional Student Awardees

Abigail Landaverde - Glory Busic - Carlisle Van Leuven

2022-2023 Exceptional Student in Spanish-Linguistics Awardee

Liam Pedersen

2023-2024 Denham Family Linguistics Student Scholarship Awardee

Rosie O’Malley

2023-2024 Shaw Gynan Memorial Scholarship Awardee

Gretchen Gaspers

2023-2024 Linguistics Student Scholarship Awardees

Ilsa O’Rollins - Red Sheets

Linguistics Department Scholars Week Presenters 2023

Mae Bash

  • “Mauwake Focus Markers”

Glory Busic

  • “Internalized Attitudes: African American English Speakers and African American English”

Margo Digiacinto

  • “Negation in Korean Syntax”

Royce Gibson

  • “Korean Modality”

Jack MacCleary

  • “Topic and Focus Phrases in Pite Saami”

Eden McGee

  • “Warao Determiners and Their Phrase Structure”

Meghan Murphy

  • “Simplifying the Syntactic Theory of Minimalism”

Ilsa O’Rollins

  • “Strategies of Disjunction in Ket”

Liam Pedersen

  • “Language and Identity in the Transgender Community of Tumblr”

Red Sheets

  • “Inventory of Modal Auxiliaries in Irish”

Thatch Trautmann - Co-author/language consultant J.R. Manríquez

  • “Nominalization in Numu (Northern Paiute)”

Faculty Spotlight

CMC Conversation hosts WWU Linguistics professor

headphones and a microphone

Edward Vajda was recently interviewed by by radio host Charles McCullough in a podcast titled "Comparing Siberian Ket language to Native American languages"

Edward Vajda co-authors new Yeniseian dictionary

"Comparative-Historical Yeniseian Dictionary Volume I (A-Ph)" by Edward J. Vajda & Heinrich Werner

Edward Vajda, who teaches linguistics, Russian, and Eurasian studies in Western’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Heinrich Werner, the world's foremost expert on Yeniseic (Yeniseian) languages, sought to create a comparative-historical Yeniseian dictionary that is readily accessible to English speakers.

Western Linguistics professors publish 'Thinking like a Linguist'

Cover of "Thinking Like a Linguist"

Western Professor of Linguistics Kristin Denham and Assistant Professor of Linguistics Jordan Sandoval have published a new book that introduces the study of language for undergraduate and beginning graduate students who would like to further their linguistics studies.

Western Linguistics professor coauthored new book

Cover of book Mid-Holocene Language Connections between Asia and North America

Edward Vajda, professor of linguistics, Russian, and Eurasian Studies in Western’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, along with his long-time colleague Michael Fortescue (professor emeritus, University of Copenhagen), have published a new book, Mid-Holocene Language Connections between Asia and North America.

Dr. Anne Lobeck

Dr. Anne Lobeck

Professor of Linguistics Dr. Anne Lobeck was inducted into the 2021 class of Fellows of the Linguistics Society of America.

Dr. Kristin Denham

Dr. Kristin Denham

Western's Dr. Kristin Denham chosen as the LSA's featured member for April 2020.

About the Linguistics Department

Linguistics is the scientific study of language, focusing on investigating the properties of individual languages as well as the characteristics of language as a whole. Linguists are interested in a wide range of questions about language: questions like what language is made of (its internal grammar), how language is processed and produced, how people use language in societies, how children and adults acquire language, and how languages change over time. The study of linguistics connects to the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences and complements interests in fields such as Anthropology, Computer Science, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Neuroscience, Sociology, Psychology, Biology, Philosophy, English, World Languages, and Education.

Contact Information

Mailing Address

Linguistics Department
Western Washington University
516 High Street, MS 9190
Bellingham, WA 98225


Bond Hall 418

Phone: 360-650-3914

/dʌb dʌb ju/ Linguistics